ABSTRACT: The relation between body mass index (BMI)/obesity and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in ischemic heart disease (IHD) has not been completely established, based on postmortem studies.
To study necropsy data of deaths from cardiac ischemia and its relation to macroscopic data of the heart and anthropometry.
Retrospective study of necropsies conducted by the medical legal services of Porto in 2002-03, with a final diagnosis of "myocardial infarction" or "chronic ischemic heart disease" or with more than 50% obstructive coronary disease. An observation grid was compiled from the necropsy data, with emphasis on anthropometry and cardiac exam. Descriptive and inferential methods (Pearson's correlation, the chi-square test and stepwise multiple regression) were used for the statistical analysis (alpha = 0.05).
Of the 231 selected cases, 75.3% were men, of whom 53.7% were diagnosed with myocardial infarction and 46.3% with IHD, with BMI of 26.9 +/- 5.1, body weight of 74.7 +/- 19.9 kg, left ventricular thickness of 16.9 +/- 4.7 mm, and cardiac weight of 517 +/- 163 g. Significant negative correlations (p < 0.001) were found between age, body weight (-0.33), height (-0.33), and BMI (-0.21) and positive correlations between cardiac weight, body weight (0.35), height (0.24), BMI (0.26), and LVH (0.29). Significant differences were found between genders with regard to age, weight, height and heart weight, but no differences in terms of years of education, BMI or left ventricular thickness. Stepwise regression found two predictive variables for heart weight: body weight, accounting for 12.1%, with age increasing this to 15.4%.
These results seem to confirm objectively by postmortem examination that high values of BMI and body weight, left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac weight correlate with IHD, with important gender differences to be taken into consideration. Body weight and age are major predictive variables for heart weight. These findings have important public health implications in the prevention of overweight and ischemic heart disease.
Revista portuguesa de cardiologia: orgao oficial da Sociedade Portuguesa de Cardiologia = Portuguese journal of cardiology: an official journal of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology 04/2005; 24(4):521-30.